You are hereDogmatizing about Eternal Conscious Torment in Hell

Dogmatizing about Eternal Conscious Torment in Hell


By Malachi - Posted on 23 October 2007

by Kurt Simmons

We were recently forced out of the Mathison Response (together with several other writers) in a power play that attempted to compel all contributors to sign a doctrinal statement affirming their belief in Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT). We have made it our policy for years not to be drawn into this debate. We have regularly turned away inquiries with the answer that we are not expressing opinions on the topic. It is Preterism we are preaching and would prefer not to be distracted with this question, or see the movement further divided by it. Our conviction is that this is not an essential of the gospel and should not be made a test of fellowship or orthodoxy. We believe that every man should be persuaded in his own mind and conscience, without fear of reprisal or retaliation. We want to maintain our policy of not being identified with either camp in this issue. However, in order to demonstrate the weakness of ECT and why it should not, indeed, cannot be made a test of fellowship, we offer the following points in evidence:

1 – There are only about 4-6 passages in the New Testament that directly speak to the idea of ECT. Of these, FOUR occur in Revelation amongst much symbology. (Rev. 14:10; 19:3, 21; 20:10) Sound principles of hermeneutics prohibit establishing any essential teaching of the church upon difficult or obscure passages, which cannot first be demonstrated elsewhere in passages that are obvious or plain. Because the symbolic language of Revelation is “difficult and obscure,” it cannot properly serve as the foundational source for the idea of ECT. That leaves only about two passages outside of Revelation that suggest the idea of ECT. The first is Matt. 25:46, where the Lord says that the wicked would go away to “everlasting punishment.” This passage is susceptible of numerous interpretations and we feel it is sufficiently ambiguous to prohibit dogmatizing about ECT. Heb. 6:2 speaks of “eternal judgment.” The same word occurs in both places (aionion).

The sense of aionion in Heb. 6:2 is “irreversible;” the judgment happens once for all. It is not pronounced again and again for all perpetuity. Likewise, the execution of a criminal happens once for all; it is eternal (aionion). This appears to be the meaning of aionion as used in Matt. 25:46; the translation there of aionion as “everlasting” punishment probably reflects the doctrinal bias of the translators. The sense and import of the term is eternal, not ceaseless or perpetual. The other passage is Jude 7 where Sodom and Gomorrah are said to have suffered the vengeance of “eternal fire.” Again, the same word is used (aionion). We ask “are the fires that enveloped Sodom and Gomorrah still burning?” Obviously not; the language is plainly poetic, like we see in so many passages of the prophets. Besides, even if it were granted that the fire is somehow eternal and unquenchable this would not be evidence that those it consumes are eternal and suffer endlessly. Concerning Rev. 19:3, David Chilton said: “The phrase [her smoke rises up forever and ever] cannot be pressed into service as a literal description of the eternal state of the wicked in general. The actual flames that consumed ‘Babylon’ burned out long ago; but her punishment was eternal. She will never be resurrected.”[1] We think this is equally true of Matt. 25:46 and Jude 7 – the idea is that the punishment is eternal, not ceaseless or perpetual. Perhaps there are one or two verses more the advocates of ECT can marshal. However, these are the main texts and, as we have seen, at best they are questionable. Can we in good conscience make ECT an “essential” of the gospel upon such equivocal evidence?

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Starlight's picture

Davo,
Here is an article by a non Preterist concerning Dan 12:2

http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical-horizons/no-62-daniel-122/

Daniel 12:2 by James B. Jordan

Here is an excerpt.

Begin quote:
The Argument for National Resurrection

In context, those who sleep in the dust of the earth seem to be parallel to Daniel, who fell into deep sleep with his face to the earth when God appeared to him at the beginning of this vision. Daniel’s resurrection is a type and foreshadowing of the resurrection spoken of here.

The resurrection of verse 2 seems to connect to the evangelistic and teaching ministry spoken of in verse 3; thus, it is some kind of historical resurrection that is spoken of, a resurrectional event in this world, in our history.

The solution to our difficulty is found in Ezekiel 37. There the prophet is told to prophesy to the dead bones of the idolaters scattered all over the mountains of Israel (see Ezekiel 6:5). Ezekiel prophesies and the bones come to life again. This is explained in Ezekiel 37:11 as the national resurrection of Israel after the captivity. The language used by God is very "literal sounding," to wit: "I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves" (vv. 12 & 13). Yet, this graphic language refers to the spiritual resurrection of the nation.

Now clearly, the resurrection of the whole nation does not mean the salvation of each individual. Thus, Daniel 12:2 tells us that in the days of Jesus the nation will undergo a last spiritual resurrection, but some will not be personally regenerated and their resurrection will only be unto destruction.

During His ministry, Jesus raised the nation back to life. He healed the sick, cleansed the unclean, brought dead people back to life, restored the Law, entered the Temple as King, etc. Then, as always, the restored people fell into sin and crucified Him.

This, then, is the most likely interpretation of Daniel 12:2.
End quote.

Norm

davo's picture

Very good Norm… thanks for posting that. Jordan says: "Now clearly, the resurrection of the whole nation does not mean the salvation of each individual. … Then, as always, the restored people fell into sin and crucified Him." Noting this then in its historical context we can then understand "salvation" as meaning literal deliverance from the AD66-70 conflagrations culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem – something that literally led to the destruction [annihilation] of many lives. Only those who "called upon the name of the Lord" would be "saved" – a euphemism for naming Christ and thus adhering to his words and so literally being delivered – in kind with what Jesus said: "But he who endures to the end shall be saved."

Thus there was a world of difference between Israel's national and corporate resurrection "of the whole nation" i.e., her full "redemption", and that of the distinct "salvation" that those who were called into Christ's redemptive ministry of Israel's behalf experienced – this as Jordan rightly points out was "a resurrectional event in this world, in our history."

davo

OSTRALOA's picture

Glenn,

I wanted to commend you in the spirit of your response to Davo & Ed. They do confuse the subjects of sin and eternal separation from God. They continue to equate the judgment of A.D. 70 with soul cessation of the reprobate. This is unbiblical.

There is not a single example of soul cessation in Scripture in fact quite the opposite both for the reprobate and the elect. Lord willing, I will rumble in the future with Ed as he put it. I will ask for a pretext for accepting such a debate that he stay within a Greek N.T. and/or a Hebrew O.T. and I will not even bring my Book of Enoch:). Won’t need it to prove the biblical case for eternal conscious separation of the reprobate souls. I do fancy where he gets that the Book of Enoch scholars R.H. Charles and George Nickelsburg of Univ. of IA mistranslate fire in the Book of Enoch. When does he become an expert in Ge’ez? Especially in lieu of the fact that the eternal place of punishment is called a dark pit with pillars of fire running to and fro into the abyss. Apparently, both Ed & Davo do not believe in such a place or ever existed. They trust the humanistic science model of the earth contrary to what the Bible says on the subject.

Your explanation of sin was well thought out Glenn. Eternal damnation is just that, separation from God of the reprobate unrepentant and there is nothing in the Greek N.T. to suggest that this ended at A.D. 70 and that doesn’t make me a purgatory Catholic or a futurist Ed as I am one of those FPs. You and Davo do continue to confuse the subject of the soul or psyche. There is no annihilation of the psyche in Scripture. Yet God puts souls/psyches throughout Scripture into the abyss or pit of eternal darkness and the same for post-A.D. 70 as well. Same for the elect, they are with God eternally in heaven not disembodied, but with glorified bodies.

I will close with that note. Again Glenn your spirit of response is an example and your exegesis sound. May the Word of the Lord stand forever.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

davo's picture

OSTRALOA: … Davo & Ed. They continue to equate the judgment of A.D. 70 with soul cessation of the reprobate. This is unbiblical. … You and Davo do continue to confuse the subject of the soul or psyche. There is no annihilation of the psyche in Scripture.

This is beautiful Paul… you have demonstrated yet again your TOTAL ineptness of understanding – NIETHER Ed nor myself have ever made any case anywhere for post-mortem annihilation; those here at PP who can read usually call us "universalists" – somewhat of a stark difference from the annihilationist position. Your ignorance of this is astounding.

davo

OSTRALOA's picture

Davo,

If my ignorance is astounding your haughtiness is astounding as I am rather new to PP. You and Ed claim to be so loving as universalists yet your spirit is so often mean spirited. I have never yet seen a Christian salutation from you as of yet or from Ed. So you are a universalist, answer me then on Korah's fate at as I posted and answer clearly which you have not done so yet on the following:

Where did souls/psyches of the rebrobate go pre and post-A.D. 70 according to you and Ed? I am going to cease now until you and Ed meet me and a mutually consenting debater in formal public debate. The terms are as I responded to Ed. Greek & Hebrew. Maybe Sam would do, how about it? Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

OSTRALOA's picture

Davo & Ed,

Excuse my new PP ignorance Davo. You do call it "fulfilled grace" don't you? Well, if fulfilled grace and heaven includes the likes of unrepentant mass murderers like Yakov Yurovsky or Yakov Sverdlov I will stand corrected by God. So be it. I will stay with what scripture says for now. Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

davo's picture

OSTRALOA: Well, if fulfilled grace and heaven includes the likes of unrepentant mass murderers like Yakov Yurovsky or Yakov Sverdlov I will stand corrected by God.

Maybe, just maybe God has more grace than you???

davo

davo's picture

OSTRALOA: So you are a universalist, answer me then on Korah's fate…

I said we get called universalists, not completely true – my universalism goes as far as Paul's in that I believe "all Israel" was saved, as in redeemed. Anyway, as to Korah – he and those with him were judged and like Ananias and Sapphira literally died; THIS I believe is what annihilation is – the cessation of the physical being in judgment, BUT no more than that, i.e., NO post-mortem cessation of existence.

OSTRALOA: Where did souls/psyches of the rebrobate go pre and post-A.D. 70 according to you…

Pre-Parousia both righteous and unrighteous were in Hades. Post Parousia humanity has been reconciled and thus God has no more enemies – regardless of whether people are ignorant of this truth. As you can see, no annihilation as you have been charging.

davo

OSTRALOA's picture

Davo,

Your answer on Korah is not not biblical. It doesn't say they died. They went down "alive" into the "pit". Which pit? Did anyone in the Bible ever dig a Sheol? Not once. Are there plural Sheols? No, Never, not once etc.

God has no more enemies? Wrong, then all people enter the gates of new Jerusalem, unrepentant murders & haters of Christ & Christians. Wrong there too. Better spirit though Davo this time I appreciate that. Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

mazuur's picture

Paul,

so are you trying to say that the "pit" (Sheol, hell etc) is a physical location inside the earth? If so, then theoretically I could dig down to it?

-Rich

-Rich

OSTRALOA's picture

Rich,

What I am saying the place of eternal punishment for the reprobate called the "lake of fire" more precisely the "abyss" or "pit" is real, physical and inside our earth. Don't believe it?

Ask any physical geologist why the earth in seismographs ring like a bell when there is a major earthquake. Scientists since Edmund Halley have known what is under our feet. Secular science feed us lies in their earth models. They say the Moho is. Sure it is!!! All the way to that suppossed solid core in the center of the earth right? Wrong! Read the OT in related passages in the Hebrew and likewise Greek for the NT Greek and and it's quite clear. Thanks for writing Rich. Blessings,

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

OSTRALOA's picture

Rich,

I will also add. You would very likely get some real surprises if one dug down about 400 miles. Just how far does science say they have dug? Not that far? Well, why not? Did the drill bit burn. Don't have the technology? They sure did to go to the moon right? Wrong again. They are playing coverup once again. Blessings,

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

Starlight's picture

Rich,

I believe Paul is correct.
I remember on the old TV superman series they drilled an oil well deeper than ever before and it opened up the way for little men to come up from the center of the earth. Apparently Paul saw the same episode ;-)

Seriously though Paul, you are discrediting the work you perform on Enoch by such thinking. You really need to spend some legitimate time studying how scripture and literature of that age is not meant to be read completely literal. Reading literal sounds heroic and biblical but its not accurate and legitimate when it comes to the ancient style and meanings. I strongly encourage you to open your understanding to be able to discern between symbolism and literalism.

Your work on Enoch and ancient literature would resonate better and perhaps recieve a proper hearing if you would clean up these side issuses that distract from your work.

Norm

OSTRALOA's picture

Norm,

Really? Then did you read in the Book of Enoch thoroughly enough to see what it said on the location of the Garden of Eden? What of the location of the abyss I mentioned contained therein.

I don't need to clean up any side issues as I have read what I have read. Like it or not. Sorry Norm to disappoint you. I care not whether I disappoint man though on the issue of truth. Truth is truth. I also reccomend you read some of the related passages in Scripture on this. Not that old superman episode either:)

By the way, where is your biblical abyss located? In the mind of man I assume like other so called comprehensive grace and universalists would say? Are you sure you didn't see this in superman too:)? Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

Starlight's picture

Paul,

I recognize that you take your position as one of conscience. I do not disparage your convictions but I have enough knowledge concerning literature of antiquity including Enoch, Jubilees and Biblical to recognize how they communicate and they are not to be taken in the total literal vein that you ascribe to them. That whole discussion is an exhaustive one and I’m not inclined to rehash all the principals of reading ancient literature here on PP.

The reason I’m strongly inclined to look favorably on Enoch and Jubilees is that they were Jewish literature that was highly regarded by the Jews and the Christians up until AD70 at least. They also accurately represent prophetic understandings on the timing of Christ and his coming in a much more clearly stated manner than most of Biblical literature. The nature of the literature I believe appropriates the literature and culture of their time and one has to understand that purpose to properly set the context of reading these works as well as other OT works such as Genesis,Ezekiel and Isaiah to name a few.

You are of course bound by your conscience to understand things in the best manner that you can but I am also bound to present evidence to you when you as a brother may be in error and it is affecting your correct understanding.

Paul if one uses a faulty hermeneutic toward the Bible or ancient literature then their results become tainted. If you are performing your work in isolation without others critiquing it then there is a strong likely hood of engrained blind spots. No one and I mean no one is completely without blind spots and it is important for one to understand this principal and not let their ego block others who can help correct those areas.

Blessings

Norm

OSTRALOA's picture

Norm,

How true. Well put. I do stand where I stand and for all things said until proven incorrect by Scripture or under God's sovereign conviction.

I do appreciate your favorable comments on Enoch. I recall your comments previously. I do caution you on your use of the word Jews in regards to Enoch, as they did not view it favorably at all. You do confuse Pharisees and the Israelites favorable to God it seems to me. They were not one in the same.

The Pharisees were not favorable to Enoch as exemplified by Rabbi Akiba who was among those who stood firmly against it for it's origin of evil described therein. This hatred of it was later picked up by Sextus Julius Africanus in his infamous unbiblical "Sethite doctrine".

I do appreciate your reply. Let the Word of God stand and the opinions of man be silent. Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

Starlight's picture

Paul,

Yes you are correct that not all of Jewish heritage ascribed to the same beliefs. The Jewish persons that I was alluding to would of course been the Jewish Christians and those that comprise the settlement of the Dead Sea scrolls. Possibly Essenes and others that lived there and brought the literature with them in abundant amounts. Enoch is one of the most frequent finds of literature in the mixture of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
I tend to believe that there was a concerted "Jewish" effort after AD70 to belittle and marginalize these works such as Enoch and Jubilees. Unfortunately Christians became afflicted with their mentality and relegated these works along with the Epistle of Barnabas to a second rate category. That is why we have nearly 2000 years of misguided futurism as we did not have biblical scholars recognizing the importance of these works especially in their strength of illustrating the coming of Christ as we Preterist understand it.

Blessings

Norm

valensname's picture

Paul,

Thank you for your words of encouragement.

I have attempted to do my homework on this subject as it was of interest to me a few years ago. That doesn't mean I understand it correctly but I have studied. Besides studying from the Bible along with my reference tools, some of the books in my library I have read include - Hell on Trial, Death and the Afterlife, Seeing the Unseen, A study of Angels, Taken to Heaven, Questions About the Afterlife and Daniel - Fulfilled Prophecy.

This area of study is of interest to me as I have attempted to explain to non-preterests the so what regarding fulfilled eschatology.

Glad you are here on PP.

In His Presence,
Glenn

Scotty's picture

Hi Glenn

When People ask me if I am an annihilationist, I respond: "No! I am a biblical immortalist." Using the hermeneutical principle of the clearest passages rendering commentary on the obscure, I would offer 1 Tim. 6:16 and 2 Tim 1:10 as proof against the ECT view, as well as proof against an innately immortal nature in man given from conception.

In the first context, Paul's instruction is to "fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life" (6:12). Then he stresses where that life comes from: "I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things...that you keep this commandment...blameless until...Jesus Christ's appearing" (6:13-15). And this is all in recognition of the fact that God "...alone has immortality dwelling in unapproachable light" (6:16).

It stands to reason that if all men are born with a dichotomized nature, one biological and temporal,the other spiritual and immortal (without end), then the exclusive statement of Paul toward God alone having immortality would be entirely false.

I do not disagree that man can possess immortality, the question is when and how. Immortalists and ECT advocates (both views I once held) espouse the view that man is given this from conception/birth. That, however, is not Paul's answer.

The hope of the life that only God can grant (6:13) is associated with the eschatological appearing of Jesus. The author of Hebrews affirms that Jesus will "appear" a second time and that it will be apart from sin (the purpose of his First appearing), for the purpose of granting salvation (the granting of eternal life).

The consistency of this approach is affirmed in the second epistle to Timothy, wherein Paul takes up where he left off in the first letter. Paul encourages them to "share...in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us...according to his own purpose...in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, WHO HAS ABOLISHED DEATH AND BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL" (2 Tim. 1:8-10).

Two things seem very clear to me from these two contexts: first, innate immortality resides in God alone; second, man can receive life (redemptive, eschatological) and immortality only through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The basis of the ECT view is the exact opposite of this; i.e., man is born with an inherently immortal nature and that I.N. is what will be subject to ECT. I do not see anyway that Paul's statements to Timothy, when taken in context, can be made to agree with the basic presuppositions of the ECT view. Blessings!

Jack Scott

OSTRALOA's picture

Hello Jack,

I met you in Ohio at one of Max's conferences. I disagree. You are assuming it seems to me that the many are all in the "universal sense" and not just the many Christ died for as in Mt. 26:28, Mk. 10:45, 14:24. Can not this “many” be the “all”, but the all not be all i.e. universally? That is, if you do not make the all be separate from the all of post-A.D. 70. I am not even a Calvinist either. It reads clear to me. I once held a similar position as yours being raised Methodist. So it seems we've switched places here. Anyway, your spirit and humility of your post is evident. Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

OSTRALOA's picture

Jack,

I shorted my reply. Here is my response in full.

1 Tim. 6:16

Response:
God has immortality and light that no man is able to approach. True, yet God in his mercy & grace gave eternal life and reconciled man through his Son that we {elect} might inherit eternal life. Eph 2:8-9.

This does not negate that man inherited eternal life through God's grace, neither negates eternal damnation of the reprobate (Rev. 21:27, 22:15).

2 Tim. 1:10

Response:
True God abolished, "the death" sin death ie. separation from God, but brought life through the gospel. However, the context of the preceding verse implies these saved being the (elect) being saved with "an higher calling" vs. 13 through Christ before the world began. This does not hold for the reprobate which have the wrath of God abiding on them both pre & post-70. I pray this has been relayed clearly. Many blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

Scotty's picture

Paul,

Thanks for your reply. I wish you had said more about your view of man's immortality. Do you believe that man innately has an immortal soul? What is it that you see being tormented throughout eternity? Your response didn't interact with these issues. If man does not have an inherently immortal nature, what is tormented throughout eternity?

Coupled with this is the notion that all of the judgment contexts we have used historically to teach ECT, in fact, teach the reality of covenant life/death in this life, not the after-life. For instance, the two you mentioned, i.e., Rev. 21:27 & 22:15, have nothing to do with the afterlife; rather, they both distinguish between those inside the New Jerusalem and those outside.

Again, if God alone is immortal and man only comes into immortality through the gospel, then lost man does not have an immortal soul to suffer ECT.

OSTRALOA's picture

Jack,

Thanks for writing back. Maybe this snippet can give you a better idea where I am coming from on this subject of immortality.

You brought up that if the reprobate pass into eternity in punishment that they in fact must in turn have immortality as well. Well, not exactly. As you see, in Scripture it states that upon the anastasis that both the just and unjust would have a rising to a different reward. This I assume we both agree upon. That does not answer whether the righteous in Christ or the reprobate have immortality. First we must define what mortality is.

As we both know, in the day Adam sinned he died. The headship of the family passing through his loins. In what way did Adam die. Physically on that day? No. His death was separation from God. Sin death. He suffered mortality (physical death) due to the penalty of his sin, (the sin death) or separation due to his disobedience to God. Men were separated from God until Christ restored that unity with the Father. But was it for all? Christ indicated it was for many not all. That being another subject. Immortality is something only God has. Immortality meaning not being subject to the penalty of sin death. God in the person of Jesus suffered mortality, death on the cross, on man’s behalf as a vicarious atonement to restore man to God annulling man’s penalty of sin death and not to annul man’s mortality (physical death). The righteous were in prior times being separated from the presence of God in Hades due to sin death awaiting the time of their restoration.

The soul is the psyche i.e. the person. The spirit is the pneuma or breath of life God gave Adam. Life then is unity with God, death is disunity and separation from God. This does not mitigate against the continuation of each soul from a state of pre-mortem existence into post-mortem existence whether righteous or unrighteous. All men die physically yet today, even though man is always a unity never being disembodied. The souls of both the righteous in Christ and unrighteous still pass through the death of their physical nature. Annihilationists believe that the souls or psyches of the reprobate somehow become non-existent at physical death even though there is not one verse in Scripture to indicate so.

I do not therefore, see Scripture equating immortality then with the ultimate state of the reprobate souls even through their souls too pass from a pre-mortem existence into post-mortem existence as do the righteous. The reprobate do not experience the fruits of eternal life as the righteous in Christ do. Yet neither are immortal. Both suffer mortality. The righteous in Christ live even though they die. I do not see this in Scripture for the reprobate. They do not live, they die physically and spiritually into a body of death passing into the unseen realm into a state of eternal separation from God. And as I have indicated in this post and others too, I do see this place called hell as a literal place as is heaven. For how can one be literal and not the other. Both are in the spiritual or unseen realm. That does not mean they are not literal places. Are they both physical places? Well, if you define physical as something man on this side of mortality can see, touch or feel no, yet both places exist in reality beyond our realm of pre-mortem existence being as real as our own world we are subject to this side of eternity. Our covenantal status with God being redeemed in Christ makes us joint citizens now of New Jerusalem and not just at our physical death being made heirs in that great city called heaven.

In sum, both the reprobate souls and the righteous in Christ are neither immortal. Both suffer mortality in physical death as the body of man is a unity and not a disunity. Only God is immortal as your verses indicated. The righteous in Christ live eternally in their post-mortem existence in their glorified bodies and the reprobate die being subject to the second death eternally separated from God and his holy city the New Jerusalem. I pray this clarifies my position more clearly Jack.

May the Word of God be praised and glory be to Jesus Christ our redeemer.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

valensname's picture

Paul.

Very well said. Thank you for posting it.

Glenn

davo's picture

The sense of aionion in Heb. 6:2 is “irreversible;” the judgment happens once for all. It is not pronounced again and again for all perpetuity. … This appears to be the meaning of aionion as used in Matt. 25:46; the translation there of aionion as “everlasting” punishment probably reflects the doctrinal bias of the translators. …the idea is that the punishment is eternal, not ceaseless or perpetual.The above accords with what I have noted many times here on PP and HERE – that "eternal" has strong QUALITATIVE connotations as opposed to the more fundamentalist quantitative expectations placed upon aionion.Rom. 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Death, not ECT, was what God warned our first ancestors would be the penalty for their sin.Exactly… and with "the death" defeated and destroyed in the Parousia grace has much more abounded, to all. II Cor. 4:16 - But though our outward man perish – This verse is particularly on point. The outward man will utterly perish, and molder in the grave, and be no more. This again is an important point to consider – "annihilation" is relative to "this life" and this life ALONE, it has naught to do with post-mortem. The perishing [annihilation] of the outward man had no impact on the continuance of the inward man – Eccl 12:7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

For post-mortem annihilation to become a reality post-Parousia would have been an imposition by God of something different and something new. We know that prior to Hades being destroyed in the Parousia, wherein were ALL the departed, and thus out of which ALL were raised, that Jesus spoke of the death of a certain rich man, who in Hades "looked up…" – no pre-Parousia annihilation. As per the life/death cycle under the old covenant as recorded in the OT, no POST-MORTEM annihilationism here either.

Surely then, "biblical" annihilation is pertinent ONLY to the physicality of man, in other words – where destructive language is used in the Scriptures it describes the permanence of one's temporal and corporeal end; referencing the TOTALITY of PHYSICAL demise, and NOT looking beyond the grave as such. So no, the so-called unrighteous did not cease to exist – as Paul also makes plain in Act 24:15.

valensname: I know people don't want to judge others now days but don't we preach that the only way to eternal life is through the Son of God, Jesus Christ? Is that not what the Bible plainly states? Then those not in the Son, do not have eternal life (also an unending conscious existence in the next realm after this physical one)…

Yes the bible does plainly state that eternal life is found ONLY in the Son – when will we as believers also plainly state what the Bible, and in fact Jesus himself states "eternal life" to be – a RELATIONSHIP with God in this life, and NOT a spatial destiny post-mortem: Jn 17:3 And this IS eternal life, that they may KNOW You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. There is NO text of Scripture that purports "eternal life" to be the traditional fundamentalist teaching of "going Heaven when you die" – this is NOT discounting nor disputing what we commonly call "going Heaven when you die" it's just that there in NO text that says THIS is what "eternal life" is – Jesus plainly states WHAT IT IS and it is clear that it is qualitative and not quantitative, this life as opposed to the next; again not to deny life after life after death, but that's NOT what the text of Scripture say eternal life is.

davo – pantelism.com –

Starlight's picture

Davo,

Thanks for trying to expound on the contextual understanding of life in Christ and post mortem and its ramifications.

I would like to see your contextual explanation though concerning Dan 12:2,13 "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, THESE TO EVERLASTING LIFE, but the others to disgrace and EVERLASTING CONTEMPT. … 13 "But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age."

Specifically what does it infer to those already dead who were in a post mortem existence? Why is there a distinction provided there as noted with Daniel when he rises for his allotted portion?

Blessings

Norm

Ed's picture

Norm,
Allow me (I will probably fail miserably, as davo is much better at this than me).

First, contextually let's remember that "those that sleep" refer to those who are "dead." At the "time of the end," all Israel was dead spiritually. The Law had killed them all. That's the whole point of the words of Paul when he said "you, who were dead in your trespasses and sins..." Those who then believed were "made alive in Christ Jesus" through baptism and faith. Those who did not believe "were condemned already" by the Law. When the unbelievers would "awake" they would go to "everlasting contempt," also known as "the Second Death." This was, as davo points out, the "desolation, caused by abomination" that happened to Jerusalem (Hades-the abode of the dead) in AD70.

When Jerusalem was destroyed, the last enemy (death) was nullified. The Law, sin and death (the unholy trifecta) was dealt with once and for all covenantally. No Law meant no sin which resulted in no death. That's why "falling away" or "The Great Apostasy" had to do with failing to trust Jesus Christ as Savior. Jews who did not "remain" instead returned to "the flesh/carnal" rather than the spiritual. Their attempt at keeping the Law meant that their sins would be held against them, and they would "perish." They faced "condemnation" which those who "walked in the spirit" (rather than the flesh) did not experience condemnation.

I do not believe that we can frame things post-Parousia in the same manner that was done in New Testament times. The attempts by the Churches of Christ to "return to new testament Christianity" are invalid. I would point out though that the CofC is a much better situation than most "churches" today, due to the fact that most churches today don't even begin to resemble ANYTHING about the biblical faith. The CofC's attempt to reconstruct NT faith at least gets us to a contextual point where we can examine things in light of scripture, rather than tradition. Is it any wonder that most of the early preterists were either CofC (Congregational) or Methodist.

I hope my post has helped clarify a few things. If it has muddied anything up, I apologize. I hope Davo will come back and bail me out if that is the case.

blessings,

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Starlight's picture

Ed,

Thanks for your attempt at elucidating on this difficult subject. This particular topic is one of the most complicated and multifaceted subjects that we seem to encounter here at PP in our discussions. There is definitely a need to provide grace to each other as we all explore this difficult proposition. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised that Kurt was as flexible as he appeared on this subject as he is usually pretty firm on his convictions. Maybe he’s softening up ;-)

Yes, I understand the “body of death” that all resided in whether asleep or in the flesh until the “time of the end” that is why I try to keep an open mind as I realize this understanding has much ramification for this contextual understanding. Actually I was greatly helped a few months ago during my so called friendly “chit chat” with Davo. It just goes to show that we can all learn from each other if we give each other a little breathing room and are patient with each other.

I still think that we have to be careful that we do not over allegorize and diminish the full biblical concepts that are put forth concerning eternal life. It appears to me such as I illustrated in my response post to Virgil that we have a both discussion going on in the scriptures and they are not to the exclusion of each other. The both in reference being life in the sprit while we dwell here in the flesh and also a post mortem continuation in which both comprise the “Hope of Israel” quest of our souls. Definitely a complex subject to say the least as one must first understand the Body of Death concept discussion found in the Old and New Testaments and comprehend it. I would say a large portion of Preterist still have not got that concept down properly. I know from my difficulty of trying to understand it that it is not easy and that is why I try to give grace to others who may not have comprehended it yet.

I’m always seeking new understandings and sometimes I am repetitious in my quest as I have found that as I add more insight to my understanding that I gradually build until one day I read a scripture and because I have been growing in my understanding all of a sudden it blossoms before me. We all have had this experience as we seek Gods truths. That is the process that I believe most of us go through.

Ed, the question that I still think that is out there is that the second death appears to be addressed to those at the time of Jesus and up to AD70. It doesn’t appear to address the OT unworthies that Dan 12:2 and Acts 21:15 address. This does not appear to have been a physical perishing for them but “seems” to have a post mortem consequence of some type. I realize that I may not just be putting it all together yet which is obvious but I’m not seeing others put it together in a comprehensive understanding as well.
Acts 24: 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be A RESURRECTION OF BOTH THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED.

I agree with your assessment of the cofC issues but they are not alone in their imperfections as you well know. I really don’t get too hung up on what group a Christian may associate themselves with as long as they are in the correct “body of Christ”. Now some groups that one may identify with are more problematic than others but usually in a matter of degrees as all are found wanting. I do not choose to abandon my cofC family as that would be tantamount to me abandoning my earthly family in some respects. Now I have left a congregation once because the leadership changed and became protectors of tradition instead of affirming the freedom which we have in Christ. Since I recognize that all groups are prone to misunderstanding the word (small wonder since we can’t agree as Preterist) I have no illusions about finding that perfect group as I have instead found the perfect body and rest within its domain.

Yes your response has helped as it allows me to continue to fathom this complex subject.

Blessings Ed

Norm

Paige's picture

Hi Norm,

"Acts 24: 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be A RESURRECTION OF BOTH THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED."

I think this verse can shed light on much of Romans 9-11.

Do you believe that God can call a man despite any good or evil that he will do? (Jacob, Saul/Paul, etc.) Perhaps, then, this might serve to illustrate that God can call a man out of his tomb (metaphorical) despite any good or evil he has done?

Just some food for thought...

Paige

Ed's picture

One of the most difficult parts of discussing any subject in light of preterism is the use of Westernized, Christianized language; e.g., the word "flesh." You used it in your post. You are using it in the context of OUR modern day usage - i.e., we are in the flesh because we are in this physical body. That is not, however, how it was used by the Hebrews, first century or before.

Flesh, "Sarx," is a word that distinguishes from Pneuma, or spirit. I would argue that to use the word flesh to denote "derma" (skin), and yet apply it supposedly as the bible uses it, is setting up a dangerous correlation with gnosticism, or neo-platonism. In their views, the physical (or flesh) is evil. "Just look at the scripture."

It is not, however, the physical that is evil; otherwise, Jesus would not have come in a physical body (which is what many gnostics have argued over the centuries). I would argue that Jesus coming in a physical body, and Jesus coming "in the flesh" refer to two different things - although related. Jesus coming in the flesh meant simply "subject to the Law." That is what was so significant about his life - he was in all things as his brothers were, and yet without sin. He came under the Law, but did not sin. He came, capable of sinning, and yet remained sinless. He was tempted in all ways, as they were.

We are no longer "in the SARX." We remain, as God always intended, in our physical bodies, but we are NOT subject to the Law. The Law was destroyed in AD70, in which God "put an end to sin" and nullified death (spiritual). There is no more Hades (abode of the dead) for IT (Jerusalem) was "thrown into the Lake of Fire."

In re: to those who were physically dead at the time of Christ's appearing. We have often times tried to explain all of preterist thought in terms of when we get to heaven. Jesus promised a thief who hung next to him on a cross that he would be with Christ on that very day - some 40 years prior to his parousia. Yet, we also teach that the resurrection had something to do with going to heaven. How indeed could that thief have been with Jesus in Paradise THAT DAY, if the resurrection wasn't going to happen for another generation. Also, we have always been taught that Jesus "descended to the abode of the dead" even though Jesus tells us that he was going to Paradise on his crucifixion day.

Contrary to what some here teach, there is no scriptural warrant for Paradise being a subdivision of Hades. In fact, when Samuel communicated with Saul from the grave, he told Saul that they would soon be "in the same place." That place was the grave, where Israelites "slept with the fathers." There was nothing in the text to signify Saul being in a fiery torment, while Sam sat around eating grapes and strumming a harp. We must rethink what we have always believed about the after-life.

We need to see resurrection as the redemption of Israel, rather than "going to heaven when we die." Then, and only then, can we see how the whole thing fits together without these attendant problems. The Jews thought that they were the True beneficiaries of the Promises to Abraham. To them, the Northern Tribes (Israel) had apostatized and were deserving of only covenantal death. To them, the Patriarchs belonged to them. Jesus' stories told them differently, stating that if they were "of Abraham" they would believe on him. He called them a brood of vipers, the serpent of old, a synagogue of adversaries. Needless to say, this ticked them off.

Ultimately, the True Beneficiary (Heir) was Christ. Israel was that which was joined to Him. Faith in him, and baptism (ceremonial washing) joined the people to Israel, and she was married to her god, YWHW, through His Son, Jesus. Those who did not believe, or who apostatized later by returning to "the flesh" (being subject to the Law) were condemned. The Fathers/Patriarchs, however, were joined to Christ through their faith. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha et al. were joined to Israel through faith. They had looked for a city not made with hands, and were not disappointed. They longed to see Christ's day, but were not privileged to do so. They did, however, share in the glory that YWHW gave to His Son and His Daughter-in-law.

When we can get beyond our lexicon, and truly examine YWHW's in His word, things become more clear. In some ways, we "see through a glass darkly" not because we are under condemnation, but because there still appear to be "satans" that wish to control us through their ecclesiastical institutions. It is imperative that we reject that "authority" that has no biblical basis. The "offices" were given until "the complete Man" came to maturity. That occurred in AD70, so there is no longer a need for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There is also no longer a need to think in these redemptive terms. We now serve God freely, because He is good to His whole creation, not out of fear of condemnation. That condemnation (death) was nullified with the destruction of the Law, the burial of the SARX, the end to sin, and the resurrection of the spirit - for Christ was "a life-giving spirit."

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

davo's picture

Ed… you need to stop selling yourself short – you have a great grasp on these things and explain them extremely well; I get a lot from your contributions and we are definitely on the same page :).

Ed: We need to see resurrection as the redemption of Israel, rather than "going to heaven when we die."

Norm, I'm a little pressed for time right now but will get to answering your thoughts etc. What Ed says above however IS what I believe in a nutshell this is all about, i.e., resurrection = redemption. More later.

davo

plymouthrock's picture

Ed,

Somehow I always find myself in agreement with you. That being said, could you talk more about Jerusalem as Hades - the abode of the dead? Are you saying that Jerusalem is Hades and vice versa or is that an analogy of some sort. I think I follow you but wondered how far the Jersulem/Hades connection went in your mind.

plymouthrock!

Ed's picture

Hey PR,
Sheol in the OT, and Hades in the New, both were considered to be "the abode of the dead." Wikipedia states that Sheol was the common grave of all humankind; i.e., the pit. The Greek Septuagint used the word Hades to translate the Hebrew word Sheol. So it was in the NT when it was written. We have a continuity here that cannot be denied (except by devout eternal-burners who can't deal with scripture interpreting scripture).

With this in mind, we must remember that Jerusalem was called "a haunt of every kind of jackel," etc. This refered to its being like a wilderness. It is where "devils" resided (devils meaning accusers). The Pharisees who lived there were called "a brood of vipers" (a clear allusion to the serpent), sons of the "evil one" (another allusion to the adversary/satan of YWHW), and a synagogue (or assembly) of satan. They not only lived in Jerusalem, they represented everything that she was (note the Samaritan argument about God's presence).

God had given Israel the Law in order to "increase transgression." The believers were told that when they were "in the flesh" (i.e., subject to the Law) they were "dead in their trespasses and sins." So, those who "dwelt" in Jerusalem were "outside the city" of the New Jerusalem, which was entered by faith and baptism. Those who remained in the Old Jerusalem remained dead. Jerusalem was "the abode of the dead," i.e., Hades or Sheol.

When you start to read the text in this context rather than thinking of Hades as some kind of afterlife existence, you will see the imagery come forth in Revelation. Since Hades/Sheol is equivalent to "The Pit," or "The Abyss" we can begin to connect a lot of the imagery to actual events that occurred in AD70.

As I've said before, when viewing these things covenantally, we must look at satan, the beast, the false prophet, the Dragon of old, etc. as part of the apostate Whore, who was Jerusalem, the haunt of every kind of jackel, bird, etc. In her "mouth" (the words that she speaks) was death. The kiss of the adultress was like the sting of a viper. Proverbs gives a lot of good imagery re: the whorish woman, and the fate of the men who would "lay with her."

Two more pieces that I think are vital in understanding the entire fulfillment issue is that I believe that the Millennium is figurative (and yet a literal 1,000 years) of the time from David to Christ. Christ takes Solomon's place because his reign is "back-dated" to the death of David. Solomon becomes "a beast," whose number is 666, the weight of the talents of gold given in tribute to Solomon each year. Solomon ended up being a usurper to the throne, just as his brother Absalom was. During the time of the Millennium (from David to Christ), the Deceiver was bound so that he could not deceive the Tribes (ethnos). This insured that Israel would remain in existence until "Shiloh comes" to redeem YWHW's people. "Satan" was loosed for a little while (the time between Christ's comings), and when Jesus returned via the Roman Army, satan (the religious leadership in Hades) was destroyed with "the breath of his mouth" (the gospel).

Finally, the "mark of the beast" was circumsion of the foreskin. Those who refused it could not "buy or sell" which DeMar explains had to do with doing business in the Temple. This is posited against "the Seal (or Mark) of God" which was the Holy spirit of promise given to those who believed and were baptized.

This is all I have time to put together right now. I hope it was helpful.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Barry's picture

Now that is a post!
Perhaps some details to work out or even to expond upon. Surly not that I have worked it all out either!
But that is a post!
Thank you Ed.

Barry

we are all in this together

Starlight's picture

Ed,

I have to agree with Barry, at first glance your perspective seems to have promise. Further testing it in the arena of discourse should help you develop it.
Good work though on what appears to be a promising possibility. I will have to say that my one caveat is that typically it is assumed that symbolic representations do not nessacarialy prescribe the physical. I don't know how many times that I have assumed a physical connection and been proven wrong (Futurist Heaven and Earth to name one) but your proposition would be worth checking out further.

Blessings

Norm

davo's picture

G'day Norm… I think this passage in Daniel that Jesus takes up in Jn 5 speaks to Israel in her end-of-the-age period where the light was dawning to fullness in the ministry of Jesus and the first-fruit saints. To save typing I explain certain aspects of this HERE. There was a fullness in Israel's resurrection that encapsulated both mortem and post-mortem, thus one did NOT need to be physically expired to receive the promised reward/s associated with the Parousia – whether one was honoured or humiliated in the Parousia such "judgment" was relative to their "works" and NOT some calamitous post-mortem condition; and you'll find NO VERSE/S saying such. Not only that… it is interesting to also consider the possibility that "the dead" in Act 24:15 may not necessarily refer to the "physically departed" – some manuscripts do not contain those words "of the dead" and simply reads as: "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection, both of the just and the unjust." Resurrection then was a shared experience, though it carried differing meaning as to its attendant "reward/s" – again, as per "works". Do any study on rewards and they are invariably linked to works. Again we have Jesus' words [Mt 16:27-28] indicating that "death" per se was NOT the determining factor in these things.

davo

PS: sorry if my answer isn't that concise, I've been a little run around lately and my brain isn't firing on all cylinders :).

plymouthrock's picture

Davo,

Just picking your brain here...

Where do you believe believers/unbelievers go after death now, post-Parousia? Why?

plymouthrock!

davo's picture

G'day PR... I don't think there has ever been an individual [post Parousia] who hasn't when their physical existence has ended not come into the presence of God to find more grace than thought possible -- pre-Parousia of course this was not the case UNTIL Hades was emptied and disposed of.

dao

plymouthrock's picture

Davo,

In light of what you have been saying elsewhere, how do you view the "second death" spoken of in Reveleation?

plymouthrock!

davo's picture

Hi PR… I view the 'second death' as the final nail in the coffin of Israel's old covenant – the resurrection that was occurring out of the old covenant in that transitional time came to fruition in the Parousia and completed Israel's redemption. Israel's AD66-70 conflagrations which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem i.e., the 'lake of fire', was the temporal and corporeal outward sign and showing of the greater covenantal reality that the "ungodliness of Jacob" had finally been turned away and thus ALL Israel saved, as in redeemed [Rom 11].

Israel was restored [resurrected] to God, her exile [covenant death] was over – the 'second death' paralleled Israel's first death [temporal exile] in Babylon from which she returned to the Land of Promise [was resurrected].

davo

OSTRALOA's picture

Davo,

Good assumptions at best. Not scriptural though. So you have Korah and his lot falling into Jerusalem? Was the pit i.e. sheol Jerusalem in his time? or later changed to Jerusalem? How about the grave vs. sheol & the pit? Like I said, you simply confuse the "pit" or abyss that "lake of fire" being Jerusalem. The abyss or pit was and is biblically and scientifically a literal place. Face the facts and reread those passages concerning the pit, abyss, hades & the lake of fire in Greek & Hebrew. The truth is clear. Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

Sam's picture

Science is God! The Bible is a ridiculous fable!

Ed's picture

Sorry you feel that way Sam. That's what frequently happens to folks who take the bible in the literalistic sense. When things don't make sense anymore, they leave the faith. I do hope you'll reconsider and come back to believing the bible again, like the rest of us.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Sam's picture

Ed,

Oye Vey.....if you believe that that's what I really think, then monkey's will fly out of my rear.

Sam

Starlight's picture

Sam, of course we know that is not your position but it might be helpful it you were not so cryptic in your invectives against science. I actually thought Ed’s response was brilliantly hilarious; unfortunately at your expense ;-)

You served up a softball that he hit out of the park.

Blessings

Norm

Ed's picture

Sam,
What's a monkey? I can't find that in the bible anywhere, so there's no way for me to ascertain what a monkey is exactly. Certainly you wouldn't want me to use any kind of empirical observations, without regard for scripture?

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Sam's picture

Ed,

If you are not familiar with tree diagrams and the problem of individuation, then perhaps you can tell me what a "monkey" is. Then, perhaps you can tell me that it squares with God's definition of "monkey". Adam "named" the animals anything he liked. Once we begin to discuss "monkeyness" and what qualifies as a "monkey", then we would have to assess all monkeys...every monkey that has ever existed, to see if in fact they qualify for that definition on an individual basis. You know...Genus...Species...etc. Seems there are a lot "monkeys" (plural) around...

Sam

Ed's picture

Genus, species? I'm sorry Sam, but I don't remember seeing those words in scripture...how can we even begin to individuate from tree diagrams - which tree might that be, Sam - Cedar? Fig? I'm sorry but I can't remember any others mentioned in scripture; therefore, they must not exist. I can't tell without being an empiricist, now can I? After all, if it ain't in scripture, it's science, and we all know that if we attempt to use anything dealing with knowledge (that I do know from scripture is "science") we are idolators and don't believe the bible.

So, with all that said, ignoring for a minute your unscriptural reference to "tree diagrams," could you explain to me exactly what scripture contains the FACT that Adam named some animal "monkey"? Certainly we cannot START with a creature YOU call a monkey, which happens to be flying out of your butt at this moment, and work backwards into the bible. Why, that would make the bible just another encyclopaedia, rather than the source of all knowledge. I mean, where in scripture would you find this description of a monkey so that you could even ascertain what a monkey is?

Help me out here Sam. You are the smart one. Who just happens to have monkeys flying out of your butt.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

OSTRALOA's picture

Planet Preterist readers:

On the subject at hand. If one considers Ed, Jeremy & Virgil's "mythical" Book of Enoch it would seem to slam the door on this subject of conscious eternal punishment or rewards for the elect. However, since they will let the Christian persecutor Rabbi Akiba determine what "accepted Christian canon" should be and Julius Africanus' and his false "Sethite doctrine" that spread like wild fire through the Church in order to ban this book we are left with what we have today on the subject.

Regarding Kurt and his original posting. Seems he's finally jumped to more or less your side Virgil. It's not full universalism, but he's getting there to your joy as annhililationism is just a breath away be it neo-Arnobianism. His posting included the Revelation passages which he stated that only Satan was thrown into eternal punishment and no man, oh what of the beast and the false prophet??

What about evil souls today such as the Jewish Bolsheviks like: Yakov Yurovsky, Yakov Sverdlov i.e. Yankel Eiman or Lev Kamenev not to mention Gregory Zinoviev alias Hirsch Apfelbaum who murder 66 million people in Russia while their murdeous Cheka practiced and ordered the following on Christians priests & nuns simply because they were Christians. Victims were skinned alive, scalped, "crowned" with barbed wire, impaled, crucified, hanged, stoned to death, tied to planks and pushed slowly into furnaces or tanks of boiling water, and rolled around naked in internally nail-studded barrels. Chekists poured water on naked prisoners in the winter-bound streets until they became living ice statues. Others beheaded their victims by twisting their necks until their heads could be torn off. The Chinese Cheka detachments stationed in Kiev reportedly would attach an iron tube to the torso of a bound victim and insert a rat into the other end which was then closed off with wire netting. The tube was then held over a flame until the rat began gnawing through the victim's guts in an effort to escape. Denikin’s investigation discovered corpses whose lungs, throats, and mouths had been packed with earth.
Women and children were also victims of Cheka terror. Women would sometimes be tortured and raped before being shot. Children between the ages of 8 and 16 were imprisoned and occasionally executed.

Your going to give these people a little discomfort and then simply vanish their evil souls into non-existence. Come on Kurt et all, you gotta be kidding. Do you really believe annhilationism provides this God of love you say? Not.

Well, I posted a long article on this subject so I won't go on. I just ask, where where you Kurt when I ran that article? I only got a response from Ed and he didn't even deal with the issues raised. He just critized me once again and said I should have posted it as a lead article. Well, thanks for once for the compliment Ed. Surprises never cease. Anyway, that's my two centavos on this subject. Blessings.

For Christ & Kingdom,

Paul Anderson
Planalmira, Brazil

PS. Norm, I disagree and think it is Sam who hit the home run and Ed is the one who struck out.

Starlight's picture

Paul,

No matter which side of the science question one comes down on it was the sardonic humor of Ed's response which was the core of my post. I'm still laughing when I think about it.

Norm

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